PM Rishi Sunak declares UK will not accept migrant returns from Ireland

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has declared that the United Kingdom would not accept the return of migrants from Ireland. This decision comes amidst a situation where Ireland has taken in a significant number of asylum seekers arriving from Northern Ireland who fear being deported by the UK. 

According to the BBC, on Tuesday the Irish Justice Minister announced that she was releasing 100 police officers from desk duties to work with immigration enforcement to combat the growing number of asylum seekers entering the country from Northern Ireland, which is a constituent UK country.

In response, the Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris began "seeking urgent clarification" from the Irish government that "there will be no disruption or police checkpoints at or near the border."

The Irish government has argued that the UK bears a responsibility to accept these asylum seekers back. However, Sunak countered this assertion by stating that the UK does not have a legal obligation to comply with such a request.

"I can confirm that the United Kingdom has no legal obligation to accept returns of illegal migrants from Ireland," Sunak said.

The Prime Minister highlighted the discrepancy in treatment, noting that while France does not accept returns from the UK, Ireland, being an EU member state like France, has no basis to urge the UK to accept these migrants. 

Sunak also emphasized that the UK has "made commitments to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland" and the "Irish government must uphold its promises too."

"We can't have cherry-picking of important international agreements," he argued.

However, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris argued against the UK's actions, saying that his country will not "provide a loophole" for the migration "challenges" that the UK is facing.

This development comes in amid chaos following the recent passage of the Safety of Rwanda Act, aimed at deterring migrants from crossing the Channel in small boats by deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Home Office indicated on Tuesday that the government had lost contact with thousands of migrants they intended to deport as part of the plan.

As of Wednesday, its website stated that operational teams were detaining migrants who were unaccounted for and will continue to carry out arrests and deportations nationwide in the coming weeks.

 


Image: Title: Rishi
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